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April 29, 2013

Pebble Hunting

Ross Detwiler and Baseball's Most Extreme BABIP

by Sam Miller


As you know, pitchers seem to demonstrate a small amount of control over their BABIPs, and hitters seem to demonstrate a larger amount of control over their BABIPs. Within reason, at least. No active player has a career BABIP below .244, and no active player has a career BABIP higher than .368, unless you lower the plate appearance threshold to something too low to be significant.

But if you lower the plate appearance threshold to something too low to be significant, then you get to include everybody, including pitchers. Your BABIP if you played baseball would likely be null, because you wouldn’t put any BIP. But if you did put some BIP, your BABIP would be something ridiculously low, like .098 or something absurd.

Why hello there Ross Detwiler

The terms of that search are >100 plate appearances among active players. Detwiler’s BABIP isn’t the lowest in history—retired Ron Herbel reached on 7.4 percent of balls in play on his way to a .029/.065/.039 career line—but it’s the lowest among active players, even when the word “active” is used liberally to include Claudio Vargas. (Vargas pitched in Mexico last year and is back now in the minors, where he has a .254 career BABIP in about as many plate appearances as he had in the majors.) (Note, also: Josh Vitters!) Detwiler went 0-for-1 Sunday, but he struck out, so his BABIP held steady. Let’s talk about that BABIP.

Detwiler has five career hits, and the five hits tell us something about hitting, something about Detwiler that’s good, and something about Detwiler’s that’s bad. These are they:

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Related Content:  Ross Detwiler,  Babip

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Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (04/29)
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Pebble Hunting: The Mo... (04/24)
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Premium Article Baseball Therapy: On t... (04/29)

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